Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,389 / Io

Posted by Gaufrid on May 19th, 2010


Some tricky clues today, with one (12ac) that I cannot fully explain.

Unusually for an FT puzzle there is a Nina. The left and right columns, taken together, read THE OUTSIDE EDGE. I am not sure whether this is just a self-reference or if I have missed something further.

9 HORSECAR  *(SEARCH [f]OR) – in the US, a streetcar drawn by horses
10 BIG END  GEN (low-down) in BID (offer)
11 ELICIT  [f]ELICIT[y] (heart of happiness)
12 HALF-LIFE  – I don’t see this one. If the clue had been ‘… of lithium and iron’ then something could be ‘half Li [half] Fe’ and the clue would work. As it stands, there appears to be no wordplay for HALF and the ‘or’ between lithium and iron would need to be ignored to give LI FE – or have I missed something?
14 LIVERY STABLE  VERY (extremely) in LISTABLE (easy to itemise)
22 UNIPOLAR  *(PURLOIN A) – a unipolar motor is a type of small DC electric motor commonly found in small, portable cassette players. This is from Wikipedia, I can find no support for there being a ‘unipolar motor’ in any of the three usual references.
25 ISOPOD  SO (very well) in IPOD (music player)
26 TABARD  BAR (pub) in TAD (a bit)
27 PETTIFOG  PET FIT reversed (back-to-back sulks) GO reversed (turn round)

2 ROOTLE  [h]OT (‘eated) in ROLE (part)
3 VESICULAR  *(VIA ULCERS) – ‘swelling’ can be an adjective as well but I cannot think of an example that would illustrate this usage.
4 LOCATIVES  TACO reversed (pancake-tossing) in LIVES (is) – defn. ‘places, we indicate’.
5 MARCHER  MAR (hurt) CHER (singer)
6 CABAL  AB (sailor) in CAL (California)
7 RIGEL  R (king) I GEL (set)
8 NINEFOLD  D (daughter) OF in LENIN reversed
13 FIT  dd
15 STATISTIC  T (time) IS in STATIC (still)
16 ADENOSINE  A DEN (study) O (zero) SINE (function) – I assume this is a ‘sugar molecule’. The dictionary definitions all seem to be “a nucleoside made up of adenine and ribose”.
17 SVENGALI  VE (day of victory) in *(SIGNAL)
19 EGO  hidden in ‘theatrEGOers’
20 IRRUPTS  PURR reversed (pleasure over) in ITS
21 POROUS  O[f] R[un] O[uts] in PUS (matter)
24 LEDGE  [f]LEDGE (make preparations to fly off) – defn. ‘shelf’

7 Responses to “Financial Times 13,389 / Io”

  1. Rishi says:

    Half-life will be Li OR Fe!

  2. Rishi says:

    To further expand my cryptic note above:
    The clue is: Measure of decay of lithium or iron? (4-4)
    ‘Measure of decay’ may be taken as the definition for word required, HALF-LIFE.
    Now, half-life could be Li or Fe – which is suggested by “lithium or iron”.
    So I don’t see where any difficulty lies.

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Rishi
    I am sure you are right and that is what was intended. However, I still have some difficulty reading the clue that way, probably because of my ingrained response when seeing ‘of’ in a clue which to me indicates ‘formed from’ or ‘consisting of’, ie a charade.

  4. smiffy says:

    Phew! With locatives, adneosine and irrupts giving me brainache – I was grateful for the “easy” clues (such as 12A…)

    Thanks Gaufrid, for confirming/detailing several definitions at which I merely hazarded drive-by guesses.

    Also the type of Nina reminded me of Monk’s past forays into the FT. Although he seems to have been absent for a while?

  5. nmsindy says:

    I thought this was very good, hard for the FT, maybe this was because of the Nina which I did not spot, don’t tend to look for them in FT, but will have to now!

    Favourite clues, TRAVEL SICKNESS, ROOTLE (these were my last two entries) and STATISTIC. HALF-LIFE was the first I solved and I did not see anything wrong with it at all. Thought the ‘of’ (similar to ‘from’) linked the definition and wordplay.

  6. scarpia says:

    I thought this was very tough for a midweek F.T. puzzle.Maybe it was because I attempted it in the pub at lunchtime,rather than at home where I can check things out ,but I had lot of answers only pencilled in.
    Horsecar,unipolar,vesicular,locatives and adenosine were all unfamiliar to me.
    Always nice to come across new vocabulary – just wished I’d taken the Indie to the pub and kept this one for home!

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I’m a bit late – only finished this crossword today.
    So, the party’s probably over.

    I just want to say that was a particularly fine puzzle, the second time in a row that I really appreciated an IO.
    I have to admit, I am not a big fan of Enigmatist [purely because the style of clueing, which is ‘too mathematical’ for me – whatever that means], but Mr Henderson’s other “hidden answer in 19d” seems to suit me a lot better.

    Great crossword.
    [missed, of course, the nina :)]

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